Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Old Rockin’ Chair’s Got Me … and it does a world of good.

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A reader reminded me (thanks, Joanne!) that rocking chairs have significant health benefits. And those are not all — there are more. And specifically for elderly women. (Some overlap will be seen. You can find more with a search.)

Moreover, rocking chairs can be not only comfortable and healthful but also beautiful (example at right from Brian Boggs Handmade Furniture, profiled in Craftsmanship magazine).

At one time, every front porch — remember those — had at least one rocking chair, and the front porch at the general store would have a line of them. There’s no doubt that they are relaxing — a grateful pause in the hurly-burly of daily life — and they they actually carry serious health benefits when used consistently over time is a big bonus. (I found it reassuring that inthe first article linked above it was stated that dementia patients improved by having less agitation and greater calmness after using a rocking chair for six weeks. That time span — not an instant change, but a gradual change, at the speed of growth — makes intuitive sense, whereas a claim of instant improvement would arouse suspicion as being contrary to the nature of rocking-chair time.)

At any rate, the season of gifts is not far off, and it occurs to me that a good rocking chair would be an excellent gift to oneself or even to another. 

Written by Leisureguy

17 September 2021 at 12:36 pm

Change in walk goals

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I changed my approach to Nordic walking, having decided (and observed) that a more moderate goal results in more frequent walking. The 8000-step, 4.1-mile, 1 hr 10-15 minute goal was achievable, but tiring, and the prospect of the walk did not gladden my heart. When we remember experiences we’ve had, we tend to weight more heavily the things toward the end (see: Peak-End Theory), which is why one should design vacations to end with something special and why performers leave the stage at a climax, with the audience clamoring for more.

So when the day came when I couldn’t walk because of weather, it was easy to skip the next day as well, and before I knew it, a week had passed.

I figured I should not ignore the event, so I decided to cut my goal from 8000 steps to 5000 steps, and I used for my walk route the short-cut toward the end that I had previously used when I felt too tired to finish. That walk turns out to be 56-58 minutes (so far — the time might improve) and 6300-6400 steps. According to Plotaroute.com, it is 3.3 miles, which is a respectable distance. With the Nordic-walking 20% boost to the normal Cooper aerobic points for that distance and time, I get 6.7 points per day, which for 6 days results in 40.2 points, comfortably above Cooper’s recommended minimum requirement (35 points per week for men, 27 for women, the points accumulated over at least 4 exercise sessions per week and at most 6).

I’ve had a couple of days at the new planned distance, and my internal resistance to the walk is noticeably lessened — it’s a short enough walk to be pleasant, and I don’t hit a point — as I did for the longer distance — of dreading how much farther I have to go. Before I notice it, the walk is done.

Written by Leisureguy

10 September 2021 at 4:13 pm

A Step Ahead of Illness: Walking daily may boost healthy aging

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The Harvard School of Public Health has a post worth considering:

Studies have shown that a regular walking habit can promote weight control, but it may also provide additional health benefits for body and mind as people age.

An Eat This, Not That! article published August 25, 2021 cited studies from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health researchers who found that walking every day may help people live longer lives and stave off depression.

Research led by I-Min Lee, professor in the Department of Epidemiology, found that older women who walked at least 4,400 steps each day had greater longevity than those who walked less.

A separate study linked regular walking to improved mental health. “We saw a 26% decrease in odds for becoming depressed for each major increase in objectively measured physical activity,” first author Karmel Choi, research advisor on resilience at the Lee Kum Sheung Center for Health and Happiness, said in the Eat This, Not That! article. “This increase in physical activity is what you might see on your activity tracker if you replaced 15 minutes of sitting with 15 minutes of running, or one hour of sitting with one hour of moderate activity like brisk walking.”

Other benefits that a daily walking habit may provide as people age include reduced risk of dementia,  stroke, and heart disease, and strengthened muscles and bones, according to other researchers cited in the Eat This, Not That! article.

Read the Eat This, Not That! here: What a Daily Walking Habit Does to Your Body After 60, Says Science

Written by Leisureguy

8 September 2021 at 3:23 pm

Looking forward and looking back: A FutureMe letter from September 1, 2020

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As I’ve occasionally mentioned, I write myself an email the first of every month to be delivered to me a year later. Occasionally, I’ll write a FutureMe email with another interval — for example, when I’m facing a move and worrying about all that might go wrong, I’ll write one to be delivered a few months after Move Day. Then I’ll have moved and settled in, and I have the pleasure of seeing how groundless were my worries. And sometimes I’lll write an email to be delivered in a few years — for example, my predictions regarding how well some president might do.

I received a fairly long letter this morning from 9/1/2020. In it I wrote about my resolutions regarding habits I was establishing, and as I look back at the past year from today, I see clearly how establishing new habits involves what should be viewed as practice attempts but often are seen as failures. In the letter I wrote about resolutions regarding diet, exercise, and finance, and though for some the year was spotty, this past month I feel I’ve corralled all three.

Diet was the easiest. That was mainly a matter of cutting out too-frequent deviations from the diet and establishing a new pattern of eating, which I set out in that letter and is now an established habit — see the Update in this post.  So I’m chuffed that in the past year I’ve stuck with the new meal plan to the point that now I don’t even think about it — it’s just the way I eat.

Exercise took longer to get established, but in late July I took another run at it, going out early morning for a Nordic walk, six days a week. I’ve worked up to a daily walk that lasts at least an hour (3.4 miles) and often about 15 minutes more (4.1 miles). I now readily exceed Cooper’s recommended minimum of aerobic points. My average for August was 39.8 points per week, and that included ramping up gradually to an hour (or more), so September’s weekly average should be better.

Finance reform was hardest — I had to break bad habits solidified over many years — but I kept working at it — practice gradually can eliminate flaws in technique — and finally figured it out. The key elements for me were:

  1. I built my budget on 95% of take-home pay, not 100%. Unexpected expenses occasionally arise. For example: my La-Z-Boy recliner will be repaired on Friday: $150 labor charge (parts covered by lifetime warranty).
  2. At the beginning of the month my monthly income arrives in my checking account, and except for the amount budgeted for day-to-day spending (groceries, miscellaneous, and discretionary), I immediately move the money into my savings account and park it there.
    .
    When I have to pay a bill, that money then comes from savings, not from my weekly day-to-day money in checking. I pay bills with Visa and then immediately pay the charge — by a transfer from checking if it’s a grocery bill or other day-to-day expense, and by a transfer from savings if it’s anything else.
    .
    Thus the day-to-day budget never has to take a big hit — those bills are covered by money I already transferred to savings. And my Visa balance hovers right around zero.
  3. With all the big bills covered by money transferred to Savings, I can focus my attention on remaining strictly within my weekly allotment for grocery, miscellaneous, and discretionary. Staying within budget each week results in staying within budget each month. Today is 1 September and I have money still remaining from my August allotment for G&M and Discretionary, and my Savings account is flush with money for non-daily expenses as they arise.

So reading that letter from a year ago — where I set out what I was going to work on in the coming year — provided a good chunk of satisfaction to begin the day. Tonight I’ll write an email to myself to be delivered September 1, 2022, where I’ll write down new goals for the coming year.

Written by Leisureguy

1 September 2021 at 1:34 pm

Walking and listening

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I have rediscovered that listening while walking makes the walk easier. Today I walked farther, faster, and longer than yesterday, but instead of feeling tired, I felt invigorated. Of course, by walking six days a week I am naturally increasing strength and energy levels (the training effect Ken Cooper talks about), but still I think listening to the audiobook helped — plus the book (Hunt, Gather, Parent currently, on loan from library) was interesting and I learned things. (It really is a fascinating book.)

I did listen to the Edith Grossman translation of Don Quixote on walks in Monterey. Because the local library has quite a few books in downloadable audio format, I’ll look through those — I already spotted Jane Eyre, and that will be next. Once I run out of library audiobooks, there’s always Audible.com.

Written by Leisureguy

21 August 2021 at 4:42 pm

The week as a foundation for focus

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I recently realized the power of focusing on a week — for example, in my budget planning/tracking method, I now focus on staying with budget just for the current week, and in Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits system, the core of planning implementation is the weekly plan. In both systems, my experience has been that the focus on a week works out well.

Note that human short-term memory capacity is about 7 “chunks” of information — the finding is 7 ± 2. It’s interesting to note that our current week is 7 days, though different cultures have different lengths of weeks — and it turns out that the lengths are 7 ± 2 — several cultures (Icelandic, Javanese, and Korean) had a 5-day week, a 6-day week is found in the Akan Calendar, ancient Rome had an 8-day week, traces of a 9-day week can be found in Baltic languages and Welsh. There are a few instances of other week lengths (10 days, for example), but it seems that almost all are 7 ± 2. And the 7-day week has a strong lineage dating back to the ancient Near East and the civilizations that arose there. (See the Wikipedia’s entry “Week” for details.) Perhaps that a week with seven days enables people to more easily keep in mind their plans by day.

In any event, a week-at-a-time focus for accomplishment does seem to work wonders, which means taking larger projects or bigger goals and breaking them down to pieces that fit within a week, and then focus on those pieces that fall into the current week.

This is not to suggest that longer-term goals and deadlines have no place. I started up walking again 30 July, and I decided that I would stick with it — 6 days a week, an extended walk with Nordic walking poles — and take stock of where I was on 31 August. My thought was that after a month’s effort, I should have seen the training effect take hold and find the walk not so taxing. And that does indeed seem to be happening. In this case, my focus is day by day, but with an eye on what the outcome will be after a month’s steady effort.

Written by Leisureguy

19 August 2021 at 2:27 pm

Nordic walking poles do push you along

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I walked to a little local grocery store, For Good Measure. It turns out to be 0.741 miles round trip, and though I felt I was walking briskly enough — certainly as rapidly as my morning walk — my odometer showed a speed of 2.8 mph for this little trip vs. 3.2 mph for my walk this morning. Subjectively, I felt I was walking at the same pace, though I did notice my walk to the store seemed to require more effort. The push on the poles propels one along and lightens the load on the legs.

Update: Today (2021-08-11) I walked downtown, a longer walk, and I could clearly tell that walking without the Nordic walking poles is definitely harder — and, as a result, I walked slower (and became more tired). It’s surprising how much using the poles helps reduce the effort and increase my pace and walking speed.

I went to pick up some San Marzano tomatoes (my haul pictured above) — that’s the variety, but since they are grown locally (just up the road in Saanich), they don’t benefit from the terroir of authentic San Marzano tomatoes, grown in a volcanic topsoil. Still, these are very nice: two-chambered, and thicken well when cooked. (I generally cook tomatoes so the lycopene they contain will become bioavailable.)

I also picked up a few things to make this recipe. I’ll skip the cacao nibs and chocolate wafers, and I’m using unsweetened natural (i.e., not Dutch process) cocoa powder. Update: I’ve made it, and I’ve revised the recipe for next time. Note: The revised recipe is 77 WW points.

CACAO CHIA PUDDING – REVISED

• 2 1/2 cups water
• 1 cup raw cashews
• 5 soft dates (preferably Medjool), pitted and chopped
• 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
• 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
• 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or use regular unsweetened natural cocoa powder)
• 1/2 cup chia seeds (white or black) – [originally 1/3 cup]
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup – [originally optional]
• 1 cup frozen blueberries or mixed berries – [my addition]

If the dates are hard, soak them in hot water for an hour to soften, then drain before chopping.

Make Ahead: The pudding needs to be chilled for 2-3 hours before serving. It can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Put into a blender the cashews, dates, vanilla extract, maple syrup, salt, and chia seeds and add 1-1 1/2 cups water. Then puree until very smooth. Add cocoa power and the remaining water and blend to mix thoroughly.

Pour into a glass storage container and mix in the berries. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours, until set.

Written by Leisureguy

10 August 2021 at 3:26 pm

Back on track with Dr. Ken Cooper’s aerobics target

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I happened to look at a post from some time back, when I was routinely walking a different route at my old apartment. At that time, as I explain in the post, I was getting about 47.5 points of aerobic exercise (using Cooper’s point system), comfortably above his recommended minimum of 35 points a week for men, 27 points a week for women, exercising at least 4 days a week and at most 6.

And in fact my route here is a bit longer — 4.1 miles instead of 3.8 miles — and so my times are a bit longer — around 1 hr 15 min (though times are dropping somewhat as I get in better condition). But with that distance and time, regular walking is 7.2 points, and with the 20% premium that Nordic walking gets, each walk is 8.64 points — and done 6 days a week, that totals to 51.8 points a week. That should do it.

The thistle is very tall and just starting to bloom. I pass it on my walk to For Good Measure, a grocery store that specializes in bulk bins of various foods — beans, grains, nuts, and so on.

Written by Leisureguy

10 August 2021 at 11:20 am

Lack of exercise linked to increased risk of severe COVID-19

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This article showed up in my in-box this morning. It seems my renewed resolution regarding walking is well timed. (Stats from this morning: 3.911 miles, 1 hr 10 min, 3.36 mph, 7570 steps, 107.0 steps/minute. Goal is a walk of 8000 steps, which I aim to achieve within a week.)

Jane Thornton (Clinician Scientist, Canada Research Chair in Injury Prevention and Physical Activity for Health, Sport Medicine Physician, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University) and Jane Yuan (MSc Candidate, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Western University) write in The Conversation about the importance of exercise for good health — and I’ll note that one of Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen is

Exercise — Once per day; 90 min. moderate or 40 min. vigorous

The article begins:

Recent research suggests that consistently meeting physical activity guidelines may reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes such as hospitalization, ICU admission and death. These findings should encourage physicians and other health care providers worldwide to talk to patients about physical activity — which has been a primary focus for our lab.

As promising as results from these and other similar studies are, an important question remains: Are we making life-saving physical activity accessible for the people who need it most?

Physical activity for all

Statistics Canada’s data on Canadian COVID-19 deaths in 2020 reported at least one comorbidity present in 90 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths (including younger age groups). A comorbidity is a disease or condition that a patient has at the same time as another illness. Many of the most common comorbid conditions on the list — including high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes — are linked to physical inactivity.

The list of the most frequent comorbidities is a sign that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable in our society. It is also an urgent call to change the story now to protect each other and build a healthier, more resilient Canada.

As a part of prevention and treatment of these comorbid conditions that put people at greater risk, access to physical activity for all must play a central part in this change. Physicians and other health care providers can play a part by prescribing physical activity, facilitating access and measuring outcomes.

Social determinants

The reality faced by so many — especially within disadvantaged populations — is that engaging in physical activity is not as simple as it sounds. To be successful, any push for widespread adoption of physical activity to treat and prevent disease must consider the context of individual lives and experiences.

Social determinants of health, specifically socio-economic status, dictate an individual’s ability to be physically active. High-income earners have the resources to lead more active lifestyles and reap the benefits of physical activity while lower-income earners do not.

A single mother working multiple low-wage jobs, for example, may not have the extra resources or leisure time to prioritize physical activity. Low-income neighbourhoods are often characterized by a lack of access to parks and green space. They may also have higher levels of crime, which may make people feel unsafe going outside to exercise.

Given the increased barriers and extra restrictions implemented during the pandemic, physical activity has become much more inaccessible for low-income communities. That may, in turn, place vulnerable populations at a higher risk of severe COVID-19-related complications.

Protecting everyone’s health means addressing barriers that contribute to the widening gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged, including systemic barriers affecting equity-deserving populations such as women, racialized and Indigenous peoples.

Addressing access

Habitual physical activity protects against adverse COVID-19 outcomes, but meeting the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology’s physical activity guidelines is unattainable for a large portion of the population. Now, more than ever, there is a need to address social inequalities and facilitate participation in physical activity through things like parks, access to facilities and active transport like walking and biking.

Policies, resources and support must consider the impact of socioeconomic factors that limit an individual’s opportunity to exercise. Interventions should aim to avoid exacerbating systemic inequalities, and promote health and well-being for all, including in low socioeconomic communities.

One example of supporting physical activity at the community level is . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

4 August 2021 at 10:16 am

Flowers and a walk

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I’ve found a good route my walk and I’m settling into it. Today’s walk took 1 hr 1 min 14 sec: 6623 steps at a pace of 108.2 steps/min and a total of 3.581 miles, so 3.51 mph. My pace today was quicker and my speed greater than yesterday, but today I walked a slightly shorter distance. (Yesterday I had a detour where the sidewalk was blocked, and that added 340 feet to yesterday’s route.)

I walked by these flowers and was moved to take a photo. And a couple of days ago I posted a photo of a tree that Seek could not identify, so today I took more photos of it at Seek’s direction.

Seek (quoting Wikipedia) tells me this is a Buddleja davidii (spelling variant Buddleia davidii), also called summer lilac, butterfly-bush, or orange eye, and is native to China and Japan. More at the link.

Click any image to get a slide show, and right-click on any slide to open image in a new tab; click it there to enlarge it.

Written by Leisureguy

3 August 2021 at 1:17 pm

First week of resumed walking

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Today wraps up my first week back at walking. I am using my Nordic walking poles — more exercise with no perceptible increase in effort, but more important more enjoyable than walking without them, plus using them greatly improves my walking posture. In addition, using them results in greater stride length and faster pace, so I finish quicker.

My morning walk today was 3617 steps in 33 min 33 seconds, so about 108 steps/minute. According to my odometer app it was 1.86 miles. I picked up additional steps today running some errands — all to the good, but without benefit of the Nordic walking poles.

As I get in better shape, walk will get a little longer. Target is about a one-hour walk, which in the past has been about 3.8 miles.

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30 July 2021 at 6:52 pm

Walkies are coming along

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This morning I had an early walk because the forecast is for a hot day. I did 1.86 miles in 33 min 33 seconds, 3617 steps (so about 108 steps/minute, a good cadence, producing a speed of 3.32 mph — though 5.3 kph sounds better.

What, I wonder, is the internal mechanism that makes some decisions snap into place and lock, while other decisions are loosely held with a lot of play and break free easily? The walking, this time, seems to be one of the locking decisions, at least for now.

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30 July 2021 at 9:26 am

A flower, a tree, a walk

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I took a new route: 3623 steps, just over half an hour. The latter part of the week is forecast to be hot, but I’ll try to get out early to beat the heat.

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28 July 2021 at 1:21 pm

Modest walk, with trees

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Just 3030 steps, but at this point consistency is more important than distance or duration. The two trees at the left have the dooping branches that I seem to like. Bottom right is a stout little tree that when freshly trimmed looks like an ornament. Click any image to get a slide show, and right-click on any slide to open image in a new tab; click it there to enlarge it. 

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26 July 2021 at 3:18 pm

Short walk

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Too many days spent sitting has greatly lowered my energy reserves, so again I take to the sidewalks with walking poles. 3000 steps — I’m starting slow — and some nice plants along the way.

Click any image to get a slide show, and right-click on any slide to open image in a new tab; click it there to enlarge it.

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25 July 2021 at 1:43 pm

Why Crash Weight Loss Programs Don’t Work: Clues From Hunter-Gatherer Societies

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Changing the analogy of how the body uses calories from an engine to a business is highly illuminating. John Henning Schumann reports at NPR:

It’s an eternal question: What diet is best for weight loss? Or, what should we eat (or avoid) to stay healthy?

Devotees of paleo or keto will talk your ear off about why their diet is the most sensible. People choosing vegan diets (no animal products, including dairy) make a compelling case for both personal and global health.

Herman Pontzer, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University, argues that human metabolism has evolved to the point where how we eat and expend our calories is more important than all of our collective obsession with what to eat.

In his new bookBurn: New Research Blows the Lid Off How We Really Burn Calories, Stay Healthy and Lose Weight, Pontzer breaks down the science of metabolism and shares tales from his work studying caloric expenditure among hunter-gatherer societies.

One of the most startling findings is the notion of constrained daily energy expenditure. This is the idea that the human metabolism adapts to our activity levels to keep our daily calorie burn in a surprisingly narrow range — no matter how hard you work out. But don’t let that depressing fact hold you back from the gym — it’s crucial that you still get daily exercise for weight maintenance and overall health.

This interview with Pontzer is adapted from an interview for Public Radio Tulsa’s Medical Monday program and has been edited for length and clarity.

In your book you debunk the common metaphor we use for caloric expenditure — an engine or a machine. You say it would be more accurate to compare it to running a business. Why is that?

The engine view gets a few things right. We put fuel into our bodies in the form of food. And we do burn it off in all the tasks that our body does, the way that an engine burns fuel.

But an engine, like the engine in your car, doesn’t get to decide how it burns the fuel. A car’s energy burn is all about how hard you step on the gas pedal. Your body isn’t like that. Your body is more like a business, as it has an overall goal like any business does. The overall goal of your body is to survive and reproduce, because that’s what every organism has evolved to do. But there are many parts and pieces and departments that are in the service of that overall goal.

In a business you have finance, sales, human resources and security and everything else. It’s the same with your body. You’ve got all these different organ systems that all work together. And like a business, when income is low, you can juggle things around. So you spend less on this or that task. And when things are good, you can ramp up the energy that you spend on different tasks. And so that kind of juggling or prioritization that businesses do is the same that your body can do with how it spends calories.

One fallacy with the engine model of calorie burning is we think, OK, I’ve got to burn more calories than I take in, either by eating less or exercising more or both. But as you point out, the metabolism adjusts, and it becomes harder to lose weight. So even though exercise isn’t really a great weight-loss strategy, it’s still very important for your overall health, right?

That’s exactly right. If you’re more physically active, eventually you don’t burn more calories a day, but you change the way your calories are spent. If you spend your calories on exercise, what that means is you’re spending fewer calories on other tasks.

And for most of us, that’s a really good thing, because if we spend less energy, for example, on inflammation, we reduce our inflammation levels. If we spend less energy on stress reactivity, for example, our cortisol levels don’t go up as high and our adrenaline levels don’t go up as high, we achieve lower levels of stress response. And it seems that that exercise might also help keep testosterone for men or estrogen levels for women at a slightly healthier level. So that adjustment, that metabolic adjustment that we make is one of the reasons exercise is so good for us.

You’ve done extensive research with modern-day hunter-gatherers, like the Hadza people of Tanzania to better understand how human metabolism works. What did you learn?

The Hadza, to this day, don’t have any domesticated crops or animals or machines or guns or electricity or anything like that. They live in grass houses in the open savanna in northern Tanzania. And every morning they wake up and women are off to get plant foods, such as berries and tubers. The men go off to hunt for a wild game using bow and arrow.

For somebody like me who studies how humans evolved, a community like that is just an invaluable way to ask what hunting and gathering does to our bodies. Because we humans evolved over millennia as a hunting and gathering species. And yes — in a population like that, food can be scarce sometimes. And you’re always spending lots of energy on physical activity. So your body really has to be good at prioritizing how it spends its calories.

The Hadza walk everywhere they go, and compared to us, are seldom sedentary. I’d assume they burn significantly more calories than we do in a day. Yet surprisingly, your work shows that their metabolism isn’t all that different from the average American.

About 10 years ago, we went and measured how many calories men and women in the Hadza community burn every day. The Hadza are so physically active, we’d expect that their total calories burned every day would be much higher than we see in the U.S. and Europe and other industrialized populations. And instead, what we found was that actually, even though men are getting 19,000 steps today, women are getting 13,000 steps a day on top of all the other work they do, they aren’t burning more total calories every day than we are in the West.

Physical activity ends up being another one of those things that the body can juggle and adjust. And so in the same way that your body can adjust to changes in your food environment, your body can adjust to changes in your physical activity. So for the Hadza, their “metabolic business” has adjusted so that they spend less on other body systems to make room for that big physical activity workload that they have.

What does this mean for someone who is trying to lose weight today?

If you or I started an exercise program tomorrow, we will burn extra calories from that exercise for a while. But after a couple of months, our bodies will adjust so that we’re spending about the same energy every day as we were before we started the exercise. Your body adjusts how it spends its energy to keep the total calories burned every day within a relatively narrow range. It just speaks to how adaptable and flexible our bodies are and how we’re not really in charge of our metabolisms the way we think.

You include a section in the book about the TV show The Biggest Loser in which contestants competed to see who could lose the most weight. What was the problem with that? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

18 July 2021 at 9:43 am

A 3-minute neck exercise routine to improve flexibility

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This looks good to me.

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3 July 2021 at 10:28 am

5 exercises toward minimum daily requirement

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I do not exercise enough — not just not enough walking, but also not enough weight-training. I found this article by Tim Liu, C.S.C.S. (Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist), to be of interest — enough interest that I might undertake it. He writes:

Just as strength training is the single best exercise you can do after turning 50, I can tell you that the same goes for your 60s. Don’t just take it from me, though. Take from some trainers who are over 60 themselves.

“Many individuals over the age of 60 forget about lifting weights—or think that they can’t build muscle as they age—but that’s just not true,” Valerie Hurst, 61, an FAI-Certified Trainer & Certified Brain Health Trainer, explained to us at ETNT Mind+Body. “By strength training at least two days per week to your exercise routine, you can avoid loss of muscle, and thus stay independent longer by maintaining your strength and balance.”

She’s correct. And as you enter your 60s, you’ll find that a new vocabulary starts to emerge when you talk about exercise. Words like “speed” and “huge gains” start to disappear, while words like “mobility” and “stability”—basic functions you need for a better quality of life well into old age—start to emerge.

In order to age well, I believe that, in addition to walking and stretching—and doing any sort of activities that will keep you on your feet, from gardening to playing golf—you need to partake in at least two to three days per week of basic strength training that targets your entire body. I’m talking about exercise moves that will make your muscles stronger, while also promoting better balance, posture, core strength, stability, and mobility.

In fact, I’d urge you to consider the following workout every day you do strength training. These are five movements that accomplish literally everything I just described. Just remember: Perform 3-4 sets of the following exercises, using the reps noted. And for some exercises to avoid, don’t miss this list of The Worst Exercises You Can Do After 60.

1. Dumbbell Goblet Squat (10-15 reps) . . .

Read the whole thing. Exercises are well-illustrated.

Written by Leisureguy

2 July 2021 at 12:06 pm

A shorter walk

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The first photo is of a droopy tree. I like droopy trees. Third photo is another palm flower, this one more spectacular than the one in front of my building. Only 5500 steps so far today. I figure it’ll be three more weeks of daily walking before I start to reap the energy benefits.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 4:09 pm

Walking vs. fasting blood glucose

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I resumed daily walks on 6 June — normally, I don’t walk on Sunday, but since I hadn’t been doing any real walking, I figured I should just start.

I noticed an immediate effect on by fasting blood glucose levels, which I graphed for that first week: steps each day and fasting blood glucose level the next day.

And you can see from last week’s steps-per-day chart, I wasn’t really doing all that many steps — I wanted to ramp up gradually. Still, I was using Nordic walking poles, which increase calorie burn by 20% (with no perceptible increase in effort, an attribute I like).

What surprises me is the impact the walking has had on my average fasting blood glucose readings. As of this morning (June 15), here’s what the averages look like:

These readings are all still in the “pre-diabetic” range, but observe the trend. (The readings in mg/dL, the measure commonly used in the US: 103, 106, 108, 114 mg/dL.)

My goal is to get all the averages below 5.5 mmol/L (99 mg/dL). That would be comfortably within the normal range.

Of course, this result is not due solely to exercise, since diet also plays a major role. I’m convinced that my whole-food non-animal diet is also essential. But (as the figures show) diet alone is insufficient. Exercise also is required, and I believe aerobics exercise (Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s term), or cardio exercise — sustained exercise — works best. I’ll continue Nordic walking, and I’ll soon be doing 1-hour walks, 6 days a week.

Written by Leisureguy

15 June 2021 at 10:32 am

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